That’s… a very fair point, my apologies for not being more specific.
FIRST? Be explicit in messaging, be present in your communities, and culturally reset our standards and set the bar (ideally).
FIRST as an organization doesn’t really engage in the places that their communities congregate. You can find vendors in Discord, on CD, on Reddit, and their own email. FIRST as an organization has no public, rapid, or otherwise accessible feedback mechanism. Even their own surveys for things like the end of Stop Build Day were problematic (don’t have the survey questions easily accessible but in essence they were poorly written and lead the survey taker on.) This would normally be the job of a community manager, but they don’t have one of those.
HQ in the past has hinted fairly openly that they read CD as a site, they at least make that strategic choice. I just wish that we could have discourse with the people who make it work.
If the folks at HQ don’t feel that they can fill a role that involves talking to the community more regularly and openly, then we as a community (including them) need to no-blame figure out why that is. Every relationship involves communication and failing to meet that bar is indicative of other things that need work.
Things like “mentor-built robots” are things that FIRST used to talk about explicitly, but in recent memory hasn’t made a real statement on, or codified that culture anywhere. It’s lead to some grizzly situations where clarification, even a clarification of ambiguity, would help.
There are more nuanced, in-depth discussions than that one, like bag vs no bag, accommodating international teams (or the lack of accommodations thereof) and countless other issues. Clarifying in the public eye, and / or in a discoverable place such that new teams aren’t left in the dark, is a move I wish they’d collectively make,
FIRST launched a mentor network in the team dashboard a while ago. Did you know about it? I did because a group I’m in discussed it and how it fails to meet the needs of recruiting and communicating. It assumed that you’re always a team looking for mentors or a mentor looking for teams, had several bugs, and ultimately doesn’t really help folks effectively communicate.
I personally feel a verified email relay (emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or something forwards the email to every mentor for a team if you’re already a mentor on a team, for example) would help, but that’s neither here nor there.
Finally, all of my previous post makes the assumption and treatment that HQ is homogeneous. I know factually that it isn’t; there are tons of people there many of whom are key former members of the community as a whole with a wide variety of takes and methods of work. HQ seems to me to run like a really big FRC team, for better or for worse. Unfortunately their role in the greater FIRST organization isn’t always publicized, leading to the annoying habit of cursing HQ as a whole, rather than trying to talk to a specific person to figure out why, improve it, etc. So long as their communication and visibility remains impacted, this habit seems likely to stay, much to my chagrin.
Edit: If anyone at HQ wants to talk, email me at firsthq (at) hi-im.kim I know CD is a no-go sometimes.